Aspen halts new short-term rental permits for nine months
- Dec 28, 2021 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
Aspen, Colorado, has placed a nine-month moratorium on new short-term rental permits. The City Council passed Emergency Ordinance 27 on December 8 in an effort to ease the city’s affordable housing crunch as real estate values and short-term rental numbers have escalated over the past few years. The council also placed a six-month moratorium on new building permits for projects that would increase a property’s overall size, height, or net leasable or net livable area.
Land-use applications already submitted before the measure was passed, as well as 100% affordable housing or historical preservation projects, are exempt from the ban. Existing short-term rental permits issued in 2021 are still valid and may be renewed next year, but no new permits will be issued in 2022. Shortly before the ordinance was passed, the city was working to process 182 last-minute short-term rental permit applications.
“A pause in certain types of residential development is necessary in order to assess the current state of the affordable housing program, assess gaps and opportunities in the regulations and delivery of units relative to need, and consider future community needs in the housing sector in the context of larger land use code issues,” Ordinance 27 states.
Two local real estate agents have filed a petition for a citizen referendum to repeal the moratorium. City Clerk Nicole Henning must accept the petition’s language, and then organizers must gather 993 signatures of registered Aspen voters within 180 days. If those signatures are certified by Henning’s office, the City Council must review the petition within 20 days. If the council rejects it, the measure would go to the vote in a special election.
Aspen passed its current vacation rental ordinance in late 2020. The rules require short-term rental operators to obtain business license and short-term rental permits. The city also requires short-term rental hosts to collect city sales and lodging taxes and file lodging tax returns. Neither Airbnb nor Vrbo collect these taxes for Aspen hosts.
All Colorado hosts are also required to apply for a tax license with the state and pay state sales and lodging taxes. Airbnb and Vrbo collect state sales tax and state-administered county and city sales tax on behalf of Colorado hosts, while Airbnb also collects county lodging tax. Hosts are responsible for collecting all required taxes from guests and submitting them to the proper tax authorities unless their short-term rental marketplace collects taxes for them.
In Colorado, even if a rental marketplace collects lodging taxes, the host is still required to register for a state tax license and file regular lodging tax returns. MyLodgeTax can automate and simplify short-term rental tax compliance, including registration and filing with state and local tax authorities.
Short-term rentals are a hot topic in Colorado resort communities. Avon, Crested Butte, Leadville, Ouray, and Telluride all raised or imposed new short-term rental taxes via ballot measure in November elections. Breckenridge recently capped the number of short-term rentals allowed in the city, and Steamboat Springs has begun working with an outside company to identify and monitor short-term rental properties and enforce local rules.
For more on short-term rental taxes in Colorado, see our Colorado vacation rental tax guide.